Cruisin’ with Royal Caribbean: All Aboard!
We took to the seas with Royal Caribbean for a 4-night cruise, and discovered that there’s so much more to cruising than sailing from point A to point B. From eating our hearts out, to enjoying the sea breeze from our own private balcony, here’s what we got up to.
The ease of getting on the Mariner of the Seas, our home for 5 days, set the relaxing mood for our trip. Royal Caribbean also have 3-night cruises, so if you’re looking for a shorter break, you’re in luck!
The Royal Promenade, which acts as a central ‘heart’ of the ship, was lively and packed with dining and shopping options. There was also a live band to welcome us with music and a little boogie, which was just a hint of the amazing entertainment to come.
After locating our Superior Ocean View Stateroom with the help of the digital wayfinder, we were in for a real treat! The room was so spacious, but the highlight had to be our very own balcony, overlooking the ocean. With outdoor seating, this is the perfect spot to listen to the crashing waves and take in the sea air.
We wanted to get to know the ship, so we went all the way up to the Viking Crown Lounge on the Deck 14 to get an eagle’s eye view of everything. From here, you can see the entire bow (that’s the front) of the ship, and watch as you set off into the big blue. We could see down to the pool deck, where other passengers were already getting acquainted with the outdoor activities on the ship. However, we were looking to ease into our trip, so with a drink in hand – ordered from the extensive menu – we took to people watching instead.
Dinnertime on the cruise brings with it a whole host of options, but we wanted to check out the Main Dining Room. Now, the words ‘dining room’ barely do justice to this magnificent space, with three storeys, luxurious fittings and chandelier lighting. The room certainly brought to mind the grandeur of cruising in the ‘old days’, but sitting down to a 3-course meal really rounded off the experience.
It was really difficult to choose what to eat, but what’s amazing about dining here is that you can order as much as you want from the menu, so you enjoy a variety of dishes. The Bay Scallop Gratin was the perfect buttery, garlicky start to our meal, and we’re not sure if the juicy scallops or dipping bread into the garlic butter sauce was the best part.
For our main course, we had to go for the comforting Herb Roasted Chicken with mashed potato. The chicken was so flavorful, and so filling! Even though we were stuffed from the generous portions, we always have room for dessert, so we had to get the Lime Ginger Chocolate Cake. The rich chocolate sponge was balanced out by the tangy warmth of the lime-ginger mousse, making this dessert the perfect sweet ending to this fantastic meal.
If you return to the dining room multiple times, you’ll be happy to know that the menu changes every day, so dinner boredom will never strike! You’ll also be given the same table, with the same servers waiting on you. We really loved getting to know our server, who even took the trouble to remember our names. That’s just another example of the personalised touches on the cruise.
One thing we loved about being on the cruise is how welcoming everyone is. It really does feel like one big party! And with the DreamWorks Character Parade, you’re right in the thick of the celebration. We were thrilled to get up close and personal with lovable characters like Kung Fu Panda and Princess Fiona from Shrek, and with the groovy beats of the music, we couldn’t help but dance along. It’s best to get there early to reserve a prime spot, so that you can be in the middle of the action. But if you don’t want to wrestle with a crowd, staying in a Promenade Stateroom will get you an amazing bird’s eye view of the parade, and the whole promenade.